The Oral History of a Japanese Soldier in Manchuria
The book Return from Siberia is the account of the life of Oguma Kenji by his son, and its uniqueness is that it provides the history of a common man who lived through the 20th century as a merchant. Through the narrative of the protagonist, it describes daily life in Tokyo in the wartime, the experience in the labor camp in Siberia, the Japanese economic boom in the 1960s, and a wartime compensation lawsuit against the Japanese government in the 1990s in which the father joined to help a former soldier of Japanese army, who is originally a Korean and met him in Siberia. The Korean lived in then Manchuria (currently “Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture” in China) and was conscripted to the Japanese army. After returning to his Chinese hometown from Siberia, he gained Chinese nationality. In the Book Break, Eiji Oguma, the author and Kenji’s son, will make a speech on how he attempted to portray his father’s personal experience in the context of the history of East Asia and how the book attracted the attention of readers in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China.
The book was published in May 2018 by the International House of Japan, which is an English translation of 生きて帰ってきた男 (“Ikite kaette kita otoko ＝ The Man who returned alive”）published in 2015 by Iwanami Shoten (岩波書店) . It is based on a series of interviews with Oguma’s father who was born in 1925 and served in the Japanese army before being interned in Siberia following Japan’s surrender at the end of World War II. The book was published in Japan, Korea and Taiwan in 2015 and in China in 2017. The Korean TV broadcasting company MBC broadcast a one-hour documentary film “Father and Me” on August 15, 2016. Posts from Chinese readers carried this book to No.7 among history/culture books in 2017 at China’s Douban (豆瓣) book review website. The book was awarded with the Kobayashi Hideo Prize (小林秀雄賞) in Japan.
Eiji Oguma is professor at the Faculty of Policy Management at Keio University in Tokyo. His socio-historical works have covered national identity, colonial policy, democratic thinking after WW II, and the Japanese student movements in 1968. He received seven prizes for his publications such as the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities (サントリー学芸賞)、the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award(毎日出版文化賞)and the Japan Film Revitalization Promotion Prize (日本映画復興奨励賞) for documentary filmmaking in Japan. He has participated in and researched anti-nuclear movements following the Fukushima accident in 2011 and directed the documentary film on the movement.
The library committee is offering a cocktail party - "Meet the Author - starting at 6:15 pm, followed by a set dinner with one drink at 6:40 pm (Menu: TBD). Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room. Book Break charges are 3,000 yen / 4,000 yen (members/non-members) per person.The member price is applicable to members’ guests.
To FCCJ members: Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or on the FCCJ website. To help us plan proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations cancelled less than 72 hours in advance will be charged in full.
Any attendees with food restriction should inform the reception desk () one day before the event.
(The talk will be in English)